In the Netherlands, when it’s warm and not raining, we go outside! We sit in our gardens, on our balconies, in parks or at café’s with outdoor terraces. We’re programmed like that. So when we moved to Japan, we made our selves comfortable in our little garden; Brought out some chairs (we couldn’t find outdoor furniture to buy) and a light; We were eaten alive by mosquito’s, so we bought a mosquito-tent to sit in. Yes it got hot, but “hey it’s summer and no rain!”! It took us a few weeks before we understood why we were the only ones sitting outside, it was too hot, too humid, too many mosquitoes and inside it was very comfortable with airco, lights and no bugs. “They were not that stupid in Japan.”
Japanese people are very polite people, we’ve never seen them laughing at us, but they must have had the laugh of their lives “those weird foreigners”.
It was the first time I experienced that people have unconscious behaviour and believes. Things they grow up with and are being considered as normal, without even thinking about why they are doing it. It’s their culture, their identity.
Usually those behaviour patterns are logical and do make sense for the people in that particular environment in different parts of the world; In Asia, you avoid situations being stung by mosquito’s who might spread diseases; In the Northern Europe you go outside when the weather allows it, to get vitamin D from the sun for energy; In the Middle-Easts sandy conditions you wear scarfs and face/mouth protection against the sand and sunburn.
Most of social behaviour is historically grown and accepted, as it makes sense.
A burkini actually makes sense in the Middle East; not only to protect women from dribbling men but also sunburn. But so does exposing your skin to the sun in Europe when and how much that’s possible, to get as much energy/vitamin D for the long and dark winter ahead. And those dribbling men? I guess in Europe most women know they’re strong enough not to be afraid of men and men are raised that women are more than sex.
All those habits, customs, rituals, – religious or not – do make sense in the part of the world they’re developed. Outside that region they should be reconsidered.
For me; how gorgeous the weather might be – compared to depression filled Dutch
winters – I will stay inside to avoid the mosquito’s and in the Middle East I cover-up, just because it makes to protect my lung. It just make sense in a social-historical way.